putting a social skills group together!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Ktllc, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I am so excited!!! Last week, after V was done with his Occupational Therapist (OT), a little girl was coming next. She is also 5 and highly likely on the spectrum. I thought it could be nice if V and her could and other kids could meet and work on social skills.
    I started thinking about all week (where, how many kids, activities, parents as coaches, maybe a therapist,etc) and planned on talking with the Occupational Therapist (OT) about it. In the mean time I had a conversation with V's daycare director who also has a special need kiddo. I mentioned my idea and she was quite interested as her son "wants to play with others but doesn't know how to". Her son his 6, Partner's age.
    I also thought of maybe having siblings there to kind of normalize the group and have some role models (Partner's tolerance level is pretty high).
    Then, during V's playtherapy yesterday I had planned on talking about it at the end of the session. And before I did, the therapy looks at me and tells me that V would really benificaite from a socials skills group! So I tell her about my ideas and she just got so excited over it!
    It was so great and she said she would be there for the group and was going to brain storm and that will talk more about it next week.
    I asked about how it would work with her fees and all on her own she said it would depend if the other parents had insurance or not, but we would make it work and we should not worry about it. WOW! She really impressed me.
    I'll ask the Occupational Therapist (OT) tomorrow if she would like to be part of this project.
    Wouldn't it be great to have a clinical social worker AND an Occupational Therapist (OT)?
    What are you guy's experience with social groups? Specifically with young children? What was the most helpful?
    At this point, it could take any shape or form we want as we are building it from the ground up.
    :hapydancsmil:It makes me so happy to do that for V and other kids in need of such a group in our little community. V's had a lot of disappointment with friends (losing them mainly after 1 or 2 days) and being part of a social group at such a young age can only be good.
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    :yourock::you_go_girl:I am VERY impressed!! What a great way to put what you know into practice for the benefit of your difficult child as well as others like him. That is just AWESOME!!
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, if she going to facilitate play because my experience is that kids with poor to no social skills kind of stay to themselves unless prompted (a lot) to interact. In our autism social groups, almost all the autistic kids stayed with family and sibs, but the sibs sometimes played together. A few of the kids who were braver yelled inappropriate comments at one another such as, "You have nice boobies." It would need somebody who knew how to get the kids going and was there to redirect and explain social errors and social norms. Certainly would be interesting, to say the least. But I don't think just throwing a bunch of socially clueless kids together with some typicals would work too well. in my opinion you need structure, activities, and a plan. We did things like swimming and bowling...I think crafts and board games would be better as the swimming just had the kids stay with t heir families and the bowling was not much better. You need in my opinion interactive games.
  4. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    the place i take my kiddo to for therapy just did this exact group, with a SW and a spT and from my seat in the waiting room, fun was had by all, and the kids did participate nicely.

    it appeared to me to be highly structured--they did everything from "games" with the whole group like red rover and hokey pokey etc, they did some say something nice about a person (adults wrote or drew it), to group craft projects (i think they built a teepee), to some simple collaborating food activities...frost gingerbread houses together and add candy, etc. and then they had a party at the end where each kid brought something to share. i'm guessing there was some talk therapy and some pragmatics thrown in for good measure.

    it was a mixed group, heavier on boys than girls, but with the exception of one boy the first week who was hysterically crying over something, they seemed to have a great time with each other. and they did interact with each other in the waiting room.

    it lasted 8 weeks and parents were anxious to start a new session. it was a fee/session, and i believe it was billed as group therapy vs social skills.

    yea, i'm that mom...pretending to read a mag in the corner while quietly finding out everybodies business. i'm nosy, and i need some kind of entertainment to pass the hour, lol.

    good luck with it--when it works, its a beautiful thing!
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    we've done several ...some good some just so so but it didn't matter as much the structure but matching interests. I was able to get a grant for $3000 from the autism society for a play group and we bought both games and sports equipment and each week we met at a park. lots of fort building, playing catch, pushing eachother on swings or copycat kinds of games. we used RDI activities like matching how you walk next to someone, bubbles bean bag games and such using visuals like cards to prompt cheering, "wait your turn" or "your turn" etc. I'm on my phone. I'll share what I can remember from the combo speech/Occupational Therapist (OT) group and the autism center groups. sensory tables were great as well as team obsticle courses. hunts for lists of things in pairs was one too. OK I'll check in tonight
  6. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Ok, I'm back from boy scout twilight camp, lol
    One of the things we talk about with therapist is to have a parent meeting without the kids first. Find out what everyone needs and what their expectations are.
    One of V's issue is that he does not reply when kids greet him. If I'm next to him, I have to get his attention and say "V, say hello" and then he says it. The first few sessions could be as simple as that maybe, learn to say hello and ask to join in.
    And, yes, I agree: it would have to be quite structured. My intention is not to put a bunch of kids together and for things to miraculously work on their own. If it did, we would not need a social skill group. ;)
    As far as supply, I'm guessing it won't be too much of an issue between the therapist(s) and what the parents have. We might have to create visuals like Buddy suggested though. That's very doable.
  7. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    From personal experience with difficult child 2, a social skills group with lots of structured activities and typical developing peers as role models, can be a very positive experience for young children. difficult child 2 did very well in this sort of a group in preschool, kindergarten. SFR
  8. What a great idea! Love that the social worker is on board. If you can get her and the Occupational Therapist (OT) I think you'll definitely be headed in the right direction.

    Keep us posted on the progress!
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I have no experience.
    But I wanted to congratulate you and encourage you. :) Keep up the good work.
  10. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Thanks for the cheers! :)
    I do have the Occupational Therapist (OT) on board and she said she knew LOTS of kiddos who would benefit from such a group. She asked about what age group and thought 4-7 years old might be good, but I'm not sure on that. Will have to see what the social worker and Occupational Therapist (OT) come up wuth by next week. SW mentioned a max of 4 kids for now, to keep the group manageable. I think she is right.
    I probably won't know anything more until next Tuesday (when I see Occupational Therapist (OT)) or next Wednesday (when I see SW).
    I'll keep you posted.
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    The idea is great...congrats! It has been over ten years ago that I enrolled difficult child#2 in such a group. Randomly here are some of the things I remember that "might" be helpful. The group was limited to six kids around the same age. The meeting was not held outside but in a conference room (the idea being to contain attention). There was a format like there is for meetings. Self introductions by name only..which included the "staff". There were assigned seats so that each week the children would more easily remember each other i.e. the girl with the cat sits next to me.
    Parents were not included in the sessions although one parent a week was invivted to come sit unobtrusively as a non participatory observer. The group leader remained the same each week however there was a team present and the leader would chose different team members to lead an exercise. Each week one child would be encouraged to tell the group about his/her life. Prompting was utilized so anxiety would not build. Then each of the other children would be asked to share back something that they now knew about their new friend. Most often the children would remember "she has a cat named Fluffy" which others would try to repeat but there was improvement in recalling personal facts as the sessions passed. They played a game that included each person adding a piece (seems like it was called gingo or something ??) to learn cooperative skills. The staff gave a very very short report for the kids to give to their parents. The report would be positive like "Jimmy listened to others today."

    Don't know if this is helpful or not but I did help our gs. I really feel it was best to exclude parents from the meetings. The staff could be supplemented by volunteer college students perhaps. Just remembered the kids were seated with an empty chair adjacent to them so their was no accidental "bumping" or whatever. I'll be following your post because I have my fingers crossed you all can benefit from this new activity. Hugs DDD